Thought Leadership

2017: Creativebrief year in review

Charlie Carpenter

Managing Director


2017 was a significant year in which we lived-up more than ever to our promise to bring together brands and agencies to create the industry’s most powerful and recognisable work.

We delivered on this promise through all elements of our service: technology, content and expert advice.

For brands we informed their teams daily through our platform about the successes of others around them, we inspired them to have bigger ambitions for their own work, and we helped them to make successful connections with the world’s best agencies across all disciplines to establish modern and successful rosters.

For agencies we stuck to our mission to support them in the generation of long-term fame and opportunity. A major element of this sees those agencies utilising our growing community as THE key marketing channel through which to build strong and visible agency ‘brands’ – with the knock-on effect of attracting more business direct, and ‘pitching’ less.

We also brought together brands and agencies at a series of events and round-table dinners during 2017, and tackled some of the industry’s biggest and chewiest topics head-on. We discussed the changing role for agencies, diversity, ridding the industry of the pitch as we know it, the changing world order for brands and much more.

All of this saw us play a more visible and active role in driving industry conversation in 2017; more of this to come in 2018.

Developments to the platform:

2017 saw us embark on our most ambitious platform developments yet.

In the first half of 2018 we will see a transformational re-launch for Creativebrief, incorporating a new identity and more importantly a more up-to-the-minute use of technology that will position us as the market-leading industry intelligence platform.

We will also launch a new product for brands that will provide previously unavailable tools and content to more simply navigate an increasingly complex marketing communications landscape.

Most of 2017 was spent in planning and development, but watch this space in the coming weeks for our launch date.

Brands and client activity:

Whilst the market was distinctly nervous in 2017 and reports of declining levels of client activity abounded, we bucked the trend in this area during the last 12 months. We saw buoyant activity across the board with brands regularly searching the platform direct or requiring support in their search for agencies across disciplines as wide-ranging as:

Activity came from brands in all sectors and of all shapes and sizes and it’s also worth noting that we continue to service brands on an increasingly international level, with 60% of reviews this year focused on the UK and 40% on international opportunities.


2017 saw two flagship events for Creativebrief. A panel discussion in May and BITE LIVE in November.

Our event in May saw us tackle the huge topic of ‘The changing role for agencies in a world of modern brands.

The exceptional panel consisted of Paul Davies from Microsoft, Lisa Thomas from Atom Bank, Jeremy Ellis from TUI and Jennelle Tilling from KFC all of whom picked-apart various elements of what brands really want from agencies in this day and age; covering integration, in-housing, remuneration models, agency structures and processes.

In advance of the day we also conducted a piece of research with 50 brand CMOs and 50 agency CEOs to compare and contrast their opinions – the findings are here. See what Marketing Week had to say about the event here.

BITE LIVE: Insight to Action, brought some of the world’s best known brands on stage with their agency partners to show us how cultural insights can be turned into ideas that drive real business value.   

We heard from exceptional speakers outside the industry such as Alain De Botton (School of Life), Jude Kelly CBE (Artistic Director of The Southbank and founder of WoW Festival) and Tempest Two. Plus the likes of McDonald’s, IKEA, The Economist, Hippeas, Mother, Leo Burnett, Sense, JKR and many more.

See what Marketing Week had to say about it here.


BITE continued to go from strength to strength in 2017, adding a variety of newly curated strings to its bow on the platform.

Whilst the topics for trends ranged from ‘Brand Activism’ to ‘Can a virtual experience ever surpass a real-world one’, 2017 saw the introduction of Guest Contributor spots from agency Strategists and Creative teams, 35 interviews with senior industry figures and 44 reviews of the strongest and most insightful agency events across the year.

We also ran our BITE Cannes Download workshop for numerous brands in the second half of 2017 such as Playstation, AG Barr, Comic Relief and many more; plus we launched our new podcast series.

Our drive for greater industry diversity:

In 2017 we stepped-up a gear in our mission to use our far-reaching industry voice to further build the moral and commercial cases for greater industry diversity. And to drive some real sense of action around this.

We launched a section of our platform that encouraged agencies to go public with their diversity figures, in an industry first. Whilst still too many remain shy about the data, I’m pleased to report that 43 agencies now are proud to show the stats in a public environment. Expect this number to rise significantly in 2018 as we make more of our partnership with Creative Equals here.

We now also ask all clients from the outset of any review how important diverse agency teams are to them, challenging them to think long and hard about this. As a result we have seen a clear change in brand’s attitudes which has led to a clarity and commercial benefit for agencies in taking this topic more seriously than ever.

This is a huge step forward if we want to see real industry acceleration, because whilst the moral argument for diversity is beyond doubt – it’s where the practical and commercial realities align with this that the true catalyst for change will ignite.

Looking ahead to 2018:

We’re excited. The launch of our new platform in 2018 gives us a laser sharp focus now in placing technology at the heart of our offering to create a more modern approach and a knowledgeable, connected community of both brands and agencies.

Expect to see us make plenty of noise this year about finding alternatives to the traditional pitch, the importance of agencies building strong ‘brands’ in their own right, and the ongoing changing role for agencies in a dynamic and shifting landscape.

Above all though, expect to see us strive to make everyone’s lives simpler. Our industry has become hugely complex and confusing of late, but simplicity is our word of 2018. Simplifying our platform, simplifying the review process, simplifying the way brands and agencies access knowledge and navigate the industry, simplifying the way both parties connect and engage.

There’s lots to do this year. But we’re very pleased to have you on board as a part of that journey.




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